When Gal Gadot led the first Wonder Woman movie to box office success, both she and director Patty Jenkins proved the superhero genre would never be the same. But even without the star power of Batman or Superman, Diana had a secret weapon at her side in Chris Pine’s Steve Trevor. Their chemistry and love story was the heart of the first film, but as Wonder Woman 1984 has already shown, not even the death of Pine’s character could keep the DC duo apart for long.
As Screen Rant learned during our visit to the Wonder Woman 1984 set back in 2018, director Patty Jenkins had intended to bring Steve back into Diana’s life almost from the beginning. And as the 1984 setting locked into place, and the themes of greed, selfishness, and ‘achieving the impossible’ worked their way into a full plot, the secret of Steve Trevor’s return took shape. Fortunately, fans can now hear from Gadot and Pine directly, as they outline the differences audiences can expect to see in a Diana now more than half a century later, and Steve Trevor finding himself the newcomer to a world Diana knows best.
Everyone was joking yesterday that we were going to start today off by asking Chris, ‘What are you doing here?’ But we’ve gotten a little tease of how Steve fits into the story already. So what does he think of the ’80s in this movie?
Chris Pine: Well the first film is obviously very much Diana being a fish out of water, and then this one is fun for the audience because it’s a total switch of that dynamic. So he’s way less of the jaded realist in the war, the ‘war pro’ that he is in the first one. This one is just kind of, ‘boy transfixed by the wonderment of this incredible, incredible era of sophistication.’
Gal Gadot: We’ve kind of reversed our roles.
When we meet Diana in this movie, how has her life changed?
GG: I think she’s very happy to be here, and I think she’s very… she’s quite lonely. She’s engaging with people, but she doesn’t have any close relationships, because either she’s going to hurt them at some point when she’ll have to disappear, or she’s going to get hurt because they’ll die and she won’t. And I think she accepted [that] as fact. At her core, her calling is to be here and to help mankind to do good. And that’s exactly what she’s doing. But she’s still missing, you know, the one who was the love of her life. She never got to really explore that relationship. And that’s it. But she’s happy. She’s very happy.
Is her job (studying antiquities at the Smithsonian Museum) related to her being focused on the past?
GG: It’s very–it has a lot to do with her past knowledge, and is also a way for her to understand new things, and to discover [modern politics], that some people can tell her a lot about different state affairs as well. She really enjoys it.
How has the relationship between your characters changed, now that Diana knows what it’s like to live without Steve before getting him back?
GG: You know, he’s not who he used to be, she’s a little different… It’s fantastic and it’s great and it’s very romantic, and it comes from… it plays from a different place. Because Steve was her first love and the first man she ever fell in love with. She was very young when she met him, and he kind of opened her eyes and discovered the world for her, in a way, literally with romance and with the world itself. Now their relationship is much more mature, and there’s been so many longings. And it’s true that you know what you had only after you lose it. I’m so tired now, I can barely speak English [laughs]. Yeah, that’s it.
Patty mentioned you all came up with the basic idea for the story of this movie, and that Steve would be coming back, during the first film. She didn’t tell us how, but she said that that was part of the original idea. So I was wondering if you could talk about…
GG: If we can tell you what she didn’t? [laughs] It’s funny, we shot Wonder Woman and we were already fantasizing on the next one. The three of us work really well together, and truly love each other. Even on this one, we’re already talking about our next journey together, and what’s the next movie we’re going to do together. Just because we really have great chemistry, and we enjoy working together.
How did you all decide this was the right way to bring Steve back?
CP: I mean, right way? You can decide whether it’s the right way or not. I love Patty, and I love Gal, and that I’m working on this film. I think it’s romantic and old-fashioned in the best way, and simple in the best way, and doesn’t reinvent the wheel in the best way. It’s just a great, good old fashioned storytelling. So… ‘right?’ I have no idea. But I know that anytime Patty pitches something with me, she can pitch me anything. She’s the single best pitcher of ideas I’ve ever come across in the history of pitching.
Gal, you have a new adversary in this film with Cheetah, and you also have a new costume, too. Can you talk about those two things?
GG: I have an incredible costume! That is new and was obviously inspired by one of the versions in the comic books. What was the first half of the question?
And we have Cheetah.
GG: And we have Cheetah, who’s my favorite villain! Working with Kristen Wiig is such an amazing experience. She’s funny and she’s sensitive. She plays the character… It’s a villain that you love. You understand where she’s coming from. She’s plays her in such an interesting, charming way. She just, like, gets you and I really enjoying working with her. She’s amazing.
What is Diana and Barbara’s relationship like, in the beginning of their friendship?
GG: I think they’re both lonely. And Diana sees Barbara’s insecurity, and it touches her. Also, Diana kind of sees things that she misses in her life, in Barbara–her humor, her light [attitude], these type of things. And she really makes her feel good when she’s next to her. Barbara sees other things in Diana that she doesn’t have, necessarily, and they kind of really attract together, and they can be amazing best friends. But then life happens, and I can’t tell you what, but she turns 180 degrees and she’s incredible.
How does Steve feel about the world he gave his life for? He fought and saw the worst in humanity, and now here he is in 1984, and this world is the best and the worst of humanity.
CP: That’s a really good question. I should probably start thinking about it.
GG: I don’t know how much time you have.
CP: I think–seriously, that’s a good question, I’m going to meditate on that. I would say this: the disparity, in terms of… the character of evil in this is really unchecked greed, unchecked want, and unchecked desire, and the need to feed that unfillable hole. The last one was more a kind of characteristic of an inherent flaw in the human, that’s maybe just characteristically evil in one thing, misery, and entropy, and death, and all that. But this is very specifically greed. You can make your own kind of correlations between it and what’s happening today, but I think a very apropos concept to investigate now [set against] the ’80s, being one of the high points of Reaganomics, you know, all that stuff.
On the flip side of that, like in the first movie, Diana saw the world in black and white, and saw evil or war as a person or God that she could just defeat. And now greed is sort of like this big abstract concept. How does she go about trying to defeat that as a concept? If she even tries to.
GG: I don’t know if she really tries at the beginning, instead I think she tries to defeat the greed. She still thinks that mankind should be able to help themselves, and she can’t educate them to do good. She can only inspire them. But I think that she’s also in a place in her life where she gets involved with the world when there’s emergencies.
Greed is not necessarily an emergency. So she’s not there to educate. She’s there to inspire, but she has her own things that she’s–I can’t say that she’s greedy, you know, about them or for them, however you say that. But I think that there’s things that she would want to have as well. So it’s not that she suffers from the same problem, because she’s not. But then…